Now that the Secret Empire storyline has wrapped up, Marvel is trying to get readers hyped for their new re-relaunch “Legacy.” They’re selling it as a new dawn for the Marvel Universe, trying to create both an entry point for new readers and a return to pre-Secret War series numbering. While this is all very newsworthy, the big thing being talked about right now re: Legacy is the other big draw: A set of variant lenticular covers that will be releasing this month.
These covers all mimic classic covers through Marvel history and are sure to be in high demand for collectors, but there’s a catch. Like many variant comic covers, stores have to order a certain number of books in order to get access to the variants. For the Legacy variant covers, comic shops are being asked to up their orders of issues as much as double what they would currently buy. This means a shop is expected to double their inventory from one issue to the next in the same series of regular cover stock to be allowed to order the exact same comic with a different cover.
While fans might be excited by the lenticular covers, many local comic shops aren’t. Citing the already tight sales numbers they have to deal with, many comic shop proprietors are upset that this Marvel promotion puts all its energy into making Marvel money, but at the expense of the shops that have to actually move these books. Sites like Bleeding Cool have been fanning the flames of an industry-wide boycott, publishing emotional letters from shop owners apologizing to customers for not being able to provide them with the sought-after variant covers.
Other stores, such as Kansas shop Elite Comics, are willing to play the “game” by buying the required numbers of regular issues in order to get the lenticular covers. To cover the costs of the increased basic cover orders that will inevitably go unsold, the lenticular covers will not sell for their cover price. Many comic shops are forced to charge up to 10x the cover price of some limited variant covers to make up the difference for unsold normal stock.
What do you think? Is the manufactured rarity of variant covers a good thing for comics or is it just a cash grab for Marvel that does more harm than good for struggling comic retailers? Discuss in the comments below.
Jeremy is an ex-video game developer that has written for The Escapist. He spends all his free time reading comics, watching every movie that comes out, and playing all the video games.